by Eric Hall
I do not think I have been this excited for a whitetail deer hunt in a long time. Over a year in the making, I am on the eve of my trip to Arkansas to hunt with Darren Taylor. A new state on a new property with an old friend and excellent hunter. What could be better than this?
I profiled Darren Taylor and his 2017 whitetail buck in the February 2018 Tireless LandManagement post. You can click the link if you haven’t read that story. Darren invited me to come to Arkansas this season for a whitetail hunt on his shared 280-acre farm. I quickly accepted and we began to plan for this year’s hunt.
The timing of this hunt fell perfectly with my Ohio hunting schedule. The rut in Ohio is normally in the lockdown phase this week and offers some of the hardest hunting of the season. I was able to schedule this trip around my 2018 Rut-cation allowing me to hunt what I felt were the best times in Ohio. Conversely, the rut in Arkansas is just underway and their 2018 Modern Firearms Season is in full swing. I have heard many hunters talk about chasing the rut phase, this year I have been afforded that opportunity.
Aside from this being my first out of state hunt, this will be my first rifle hunt! The opportunity to harvest a whitetail with a centerfire rifle has been on my bucket list for years. Ohio has recently added straight wall centerfire cartridges to the list of legal ammunition for our firearms season. Arkansas does not require the cartridges to be the straight wall variety, so I am going to be armed with my TC Compass 30.06 and Winchester Deer Season XP 150 grain rounds. I have sighted in the firearm to a one-inch grouping at 200 yards.
Another first on this trip is that I will have a cameraman to record the hunt. Jim Hruska is joining me on the trip to record (as he likes to say) the deer that I miss. I hope that Jim is not a prognosticator of the success of this hunt. If so I am doomed! All joking aside, I am thankful Jim could join me and look forward to sharing the video on the Whitetail OCD YouTube page. Yes, I will post the video hit or miss.
My goals for this trip:
- Come home safe (This is always my #1 goal and will not change)
- Fellowship with Darren, his family, and Jim
- Capture photos and video of the amazing wildlife Darren has on the farm
- Harvest some whitetail deer
We will be hunting Friday 11/16 afternoon, Saturday 11/17 and the morning on Sunday 11/18. With a short turn around time, it will be a tight window to harvest an animal or two. I will not be too picky with this short of a timeframe to get it done. I will say that if I am fortunate enough to harvest, that my intention is to leave the Arkansas farm in better condition than when I arrived. If that means taking some doe to help balance the ratio than so be it. My license is for 2 deer and I hope to fill both tags during my time.
We will be posting live from Arkansas on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Hope all of you will follow along with us on this incredible journey.
More to come from Arkansas!